May 19

Dear Readers,

I regret to inform you that the UV germ light (UV Rays: Not Just for Skin Cancer Anymore!) did not solve all of the cold and flu woes I have experienced since working with the multiple-germ infested larvae, or what the other teachers refer to as “students.” The UV germ light might have worked better had I actually bought it, instead of just writing about it while intermittently poking fun at it. That’s just one hypothesis, though, and I’m not one to jump to conclusions.

At any rate, undergoing my fifth sickness of the last 8 months has made me realize I need to throw caution to the wind and replace said useless caution with extreme paranoid PREcautions. Having been blessed with the genetic predisposition for paranoia I find that I am just the blogger to break this new precautionary ground.

This new ground is also referred to as a Level A aluminized Hazmat Suit. Please see image below.
Level A Hazmat Suit

This groundbreaking (literally, it’s so heavy, it will break the ground) protective Level A Hazmat Suit is just one step above antibacterial instant hand sanitizer and one step below the total annihilation of all bacterial and viral germs known to human lifeforms as documented in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Level A Hazmat Suit, when worn to the jobsite as work attire, has a number of benefits in addition to protecting you from the germs of young children. First of all, its silver sheen goes well with almost any room decor, so you can galavant from your classroom, to the cafeteria, to the faculty lounge, while remaining fashionable. Second, no more fire drills! You will remain protected through almost any calamity, including fire, earthquake, or terrorist attack, while your poor unsuspecting coworkers will have to flee the building for their lives. Kick back, relax, and drink some coffee amidst the panic and dread.

Speaking of drinking coffee, the Level A Hazmat Suit does have a few drawbacks that I should mention before you invest in the Hazmat Suit family and extended family discount to swathe and protect all of your beloved family members. First, it’s actually impossible to drink coffee while in the Hazmat Suit, because its protectiive outer covering precludes the possibility of anything actually entering your mouth. And even if you could successfully bridge the gap between the coffee and your mouth, you wouldn’t want to, because it will also be impossible for you to use the bathroom while in your Level A Hazmat Suit. Finally, you’ll find that as you make pleasant small talk with your coworkers, you’ll receive looks of confusion and disdain, because even though you’re saying, “Why, hello coworker, have you noticed how sharp I look in my fine new Hazmat Suit?”, all they will hear through the largely soundproof protective gear is a blurred “Welloworersharloohazmasuit?”

I can hardly wait to wear my new Level A Hazmat Suit to work tomorrow. In its sparkling clean and freshly pressed state, I will be the envy of my coworkers and I will remain as disinfected and germ-free as the day that I spilled a bucket of instant hand sanitizer on myself.

And remember my motto: Instant hand sanitizer dries, but a Level A Hazmat Suit lasts forever.

–Troi out

May 12

Insects. That’s right, you heard me. It turns out the smartest lifeform is the Australian Walking Stick, a truly ingenious insect.

How did I stumble upon the Australian Walking Stick, you ask? Well, last year I had the pleasure of doing my speech practicum in an elementary school, and I picked up some truly fascinating information during my time there. One day I was standing in a classroom with a student, gazing into a cage that was empty except for a few plants and a lot of sticks. My conversation with the student went something like this:

Me: “This is a very interesting empty cage. Can you tell me a bit about it?”
Student: “Well, it contains many insects. They are everywhere.”
Me: [This poor kid thinks he sees insects.] “Really? Where are they?”
Student: “You’re holding one.”
Me: “No, I’m just holding this stick.”
Student: “That’s not a stick. See how it’s moving?”
Me: [Very sophisticated movements ensue, the details of which are fuzzy; there may have been some screaming and ducking under a table on my part while I very calmly and rationally attempt to shake off the animated stick from my hand**] “Why you’re right. This is an insect.”

**Don’t believe what you read in the encyclopedia that the Austalian Walking Stick is a docile, harmless insect that is strictly vegetarian. This vicious Walking Stick attacked me, and my life flashed before my eyes. (The previous statement contains information that is partially and/or entirely false. Please proceed at your own risk.)

An important lesson I learned from this pleasant interaction with the student is that children are not as unintelligent as they may seem. If you find yourself in Australia, holding a stick, and a child informs you that it’s a bug, you might want to believe him. In fact, if you find yourself in Australia, you may not want to pick up sticks at all. Try picking up rocks instead. Or litter.

However, the MOST important lesson I learned from this exchange with the second-grade student is that Australian Walking Sticks are truly brilliant creatures. First, they can blend into their surroundings, resembling the objects around them (sticks). This is a superpower previously only achieved by X-Men such as Facade and Mystique. I still have not learned to effectively blend into my surroundings, or to resemble a stick, despite the obvious benefits of such a skill. Even more incredible, however, is that Walking Sticks have learned to procreate without the need for men. Yes, the female Walking Stick is parthenogenetic, which means that the females lay unfertilized eggs, which hatch into female Walking Sticks that subsequently lay their own unfertilized eggs, which hatch into more females. If you’re catching my drift here, you will see that not only are men disposable to the Walking Stick culture, their lack of importance could eventually lead to an advanced Walking Stick society devoid of all male presence. Females would rule all the Walking Stick land (Australia) and females reaching adolescence no longer have to deal with the uncomfortable sex talk that Daddy Walking Sticks were previously forced to have with them.

In light of the fact that I have obtained most of my knowledge about Walking Sticks from a second-grade child (who, admittedly, is smarter than I am as he can distinguish between animate and inanimate objects, an area of apparent difficulty for myself), I ask that you please refer all questions, comments, arguments, and boycotts of this blog to the second-grade child, who asks that he remain anonymous. Or he would, if he knew I wrote this. 🙂

–Troi out

May 1

Now you have a new reason to drag your kids kicking and screaming away from their perch in front of the X-Box. A recent study correlates endless hours of mind-numbing computer gaming with, can you believe it, three personality traits associated with Aspergers syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. These traits are neuroticism, lack of extraversion, and lack of agreeableness. And while the researchers wouldn’t go so far as to label these gamers as having Aspergers syndrome, they do contend that the game addicts “share some of the same characteristics because they find it easier to empathize with computer systems than other people.”

I couldn’t agree more. Thank goodness this problematic behavior is confined to gamers. People such as myself never have to worry about such neurotocism or introverted behavior. Why, it’s not as if I refuse to board a plane because I’m convinced it will crash, nor that my cell phone is currently ringing but I have no plans to answer it because I prefer to continue chatting with my friends via instant messaging. And people like me most certainly don’t suffer from a lack of agreeableness. Quite the opposite, I find that I agree with myself nearly always, and when I program my computer accurately, it agrees with me too. (“Good morning, Troi! You’ve got mail, because you’re so popular! And you’re always right!”)

All kidding aside (my computer doesn’t REALLY say that when I log on–a well-programmed computer never patronizes its user), couldn’t it be said that, generally speaking, computer systems are easier to empathize with than people? Particularly of the opposite gender? My computer is here every night when I get home from work and it’s always willing to communicate the day’s news with me. It takes but a minute to turn it on and it stays on as long as I need it. My computer doesn’t quit working two weeks after our first encounter, and when it’s ready to quit for good, it sends plenty of warning messages*. Can human contact begin to compare with such reliability??

*I have a mac. I cannot speak for PCs but I hear they’re less reliable, like men.

The study I read goes on to state that “there is a scale along which people…can be placed upon…..and that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathizing, systemizing, end of the spectrum.”

I like to call this God’s way of balancing the universe. The way I see it, engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists got all of the brains, so they had to be shorted elsewhere. A deficiency in emotional intelligence for these folks was the only way to equalize the universe so that it wouldn’t collapse upon itself. Therefore, God created two kinds of humans: People who are highly intelligent but who cannot relate to other people, and stupid people who are popular.

When these two strains of human mate, there is born a third type of human: The Average Joe. Due to the high instances of breeding that have taken place since the beginning of time, most existing humans are a hybrid of smart and stupid that embodies the classic Average Joe.

So as you reflect upon this important study, take a good look at yourself and discern into which breed you fall. Are you a gamer? Or do you have stellar social skills? Or are you good at nothing in particular? If you find that you fall into the third category, don’t despair. Simply program your computer to compliment you daily when you turn it on. You probably don’t know how, but call a gamer and ask for his programming assistance. Just don’t mate with him.

*As always, Troi would like to point out that she does not believe what she writes, nor write what she believes.

–Troi out

p.s. Thanks for the link, e. Lucas. I don’t think you act like you have Aspergers. Keep playing those computer games. 🙂